Can New Orleans dancers save the environment? That’s the plan for Saturday (July 27) as theLouisiana Bucket Brigade invites locals to“Stomp Out the Stink” at a 12-hour dance marathon in Faubourg Marigny.
It’s the second year for the Dance-A-Thon, which seeks to raise money for the non-profit environmental group. (The 2012 edition drew about 50 competitors and raised some $7,000 for the organization).
The gathering isn’t just for competitive dancers, said Bucket Brigade staffer Kellan Lyman. The marathon also includes limbo contests, dance lessons in many styles, daytime children’s activities, a silent auction, and the chance for fun seekers to find their groove with local bands (Doombalaya, Africa Brass) and DJs. It all takes place at Café Istanbul, 2372 St. Claude Ave.
“As a group, we deal with some heavy issues – public health and pollution – so we wanted to create a celebratory event for our fundraiser,” Lyman said. “Dancing seems so central to the culture of New Orleans – and it struck us that this would be a perfect way for a grassroots group to share its mission and foster change while making sure that everyone has a nice time.”
Founded in 2000, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade has conducted health surveys, tracked toxic releases, filed suit to tighten Federal pollution regulations and conducted outreach efforts in communities around the region. With an annual budget of $500,000 and nearly 2,500 members, the group has become a vocal presence in the ongoing debates about the environment.
Also, they throw a great party.
“Last year we had a very interactive event,” Lyman said. “It’s not like a high school dance with people standing around at the fringe of things, although there are plenty of corners for dancers who want to put up their feet, have a drink or eat food from Café Istanbul.”
Most everyone ends up on the dance floor at this event, Lyman said. And party-goers also tend to jump in when the competitive dancers jockey for the fundraising lead: Some cheer, others pass the tip jar seeking to raise more for individual dance teams. The individual dancer who raises the most money wins a Brass Pass to the 2014 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell. The team that brings in the most contributions wins a shopping cart loaded with booze and mixers.